Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rehabbing before performing

This picture was one of several taken yesterday at a single ranch style home in Meraux, Louisiana. Located a scant quarter-mile from the sprawling Murphy Oil Company complex, the house was being rehabbed by a number of out-of-town volunteers under the direction of the St. Bernard Project. Among the dedicated volunteers was none other than Neshama Carlebach, the peerless Jewish songstress seen at left, whose passion of bringing New Orleans back towards the road to recovery was never more evident or brilliantly expressed than that which she demonstrated by floating wallboard and applying joint compound (mud) to a room she built all by herself. Carlebach, the daughter of the famous "singing" Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, is in town to headline a special benefit concert tomorrow night (October 15) at Touro Synagogue at 8:00 p.m. Along with 16 members of the Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir led by the Reverend Roger Hambrick, Carlebach will also be joined on stage by legendary New Orleans jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis and other unannounced players in a performance of original songs written by the late Rabbi Carlebach. Carlebach's producer and drummer Marc Amborsino was at her side yesterday, along with his wife Rozan, applying mud to sheetrock and doing what he could to help finish the project. Ambrosino and Carlebach were both in the Crescent City in 2006 for the New Orleans Jewish Music Festival held at Howling Wolf. It is very gratifying to see performers actually roll their sleeves up and get dirty in helping the city's recovery, but the opportunity to raise much-needed funds to battle hunger is even more important. The "Go You Forth" concert will raise money for the St. Bernard Project and the New Orleans Food Bank through Mazon, the Jewish organization that provides food and grants to aid the hungry. Mazon literally means "food" in Hebrew and the concert is Carlebach's dream towards making a significant impact on the recovery here in order to help former residents return to their city. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Group sales are $10 each, but must be purchased through the Mazon site. For more information call Touro Synagogue at 504-895-4843. The Go You Forth concert will be a wonderful opportunity for all of the New Orleans area to take part in an interfaith program that embraces the Jewish legacy of Rabbi Carlebach and the collective talents of Neshama Carlebach, the Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir, the legendary Ellis Marsalis and others. It will be a convergence of different worlds – Jewish songs, gospel and jazz – all designed to bring divergent folk together in worship and praise towards God. In a way it's a success already even before the first notes have been heard because of the generous spirit of giving by Carlebach and her band members in making this concert happen. If you are able to attend, fly to the "Go You Forth" concert and be a part of this experience. If you are unable to attend or live out of town, consider making a donation to Mazon or the St. Bernard Project. It will help and will definitely be appreciated.

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